Stradolin with top sinkage--advice?

  1. PJPowers

    I bought this Stradolin in the late '90s to learn on--was not told about the top sinkage. Kept it, learned a little, and want to get back into mandolin playing.

    Any advice about a replacement bridge for the one that's there? I'm not up to speed on the many new bridges out today. Some of the better ones would be overkill, but I'd like to try something else. It's been strung to pitch (mostly) all the time I've had it and it hasn't come completely apart. I like the mando--I have a Stradolin banjo with a hoop tone ring and the neck on that 5-string matches the one on the mandolin.

    Last, this appears a lower end Strad? No logo, but I can't tell if the peghead has been messed with: reshaped, oversprayed, who knows? Nice rosewood board, elevated, frets are slightly fatter. Seems little doubt the top and back are laminated/pressed--still, the sound has some nice tones to it. I'd be willing to have a luthier take a look and I'd put a little setup $ into it. Any thoughts are welcome--I'm in Western Massachusetts.

    Threw some photos in-thanks very much.
    Peter Powers
  2. bmac
    It appears to have been refinished at some point. Or even if not the logo and any design on the headstock on Stradolins is simply a decal which kind of wants to come off all by itself. My decal was in the process of lifting off until I stabilized it with a few light coats of spray laquer. In the interest of originality I still haven't tried to recreate the two missing letters ("STRADOL__").

    Yours appears to have been refinished at some time (?). The missing logo and design on the headstock as well as the rounding of the edges of the head stock suggests refinish.

    If the top sinking is stable, and I would guess it is after all these years being strung up with no further sinking, then why spend the money unless you truly believe the finish is original,,,, but what about the missing logo? Somebody removed it... Probably during refinishing???

    You suggest that it is a good player as is. You imply a new bridge would make you feel better.... OK, but don't expect the new bridge to improve the sound.

    It sounds to me you have a player... So play it.... but it will probably never be of any significant value with mising logo and possible refinish. My own Stradolin dated 1935 is one of my nicest sounding mandolins after 74 years of abuse and some major repairs and very cautious restoration.

    Have fun with it!

  3. PJPowers

    Thanks for replying and your thoughts.

    Yeah, I've always been a little troubled that what was in the gig bag when I opened it (I did a mail order thing from an allegedly reputable online dealer, looking for a budget mando at the time) wasn't what was represented to me over the phone. The sinkage and refinish wasn't ever mentioned.

    Anyway, you make a good point: no real "value," whatever that might be for a sunken top Stradolin, and it is a player that notes OK. So, yeah, back to practicing I guess, and less thinking about a new bridge!

  4. bmac
    I hope I didn't sound as if I was disparaging your mandolin. If it sounds good it is probably worth what you paid for it. I have seen at least one other Stradolin with missing decal and the owner is thrilled with his for its appearance and especially its sound. If yours sounds anywhere close to mine you have a really nice mandolin.

    I view mine as the equivilant of my Mid-Missouri sound wise. Different tonally but both are really nice sounding instruments. My other mandos lie dormant much of the time as they just don't have the punch of either of these two.

    I don't know what your musical interests are but Steve James talks about the early 20th C. blues musicians who never made a lot of money and of necessity used mail-order and department store mandos (often plywood) and made the most of them. I kind of like that perspective.

  5. bmac

    Take a look at this Stradolin. It is missing the headstock decal but the owner really loves itfor its funky appearance and its sound.


  6. PJPowers

    That Antebellum mando reeks of character!. No issue with your points--the neck and fingerboard work on my Strad are unmatched by current imports and I like and prefer the slightly "clubby" feel to the neck profile. I'd say the sinkage of the top is pretty much irrelevant--the highs are not much on my mando, but there is a decent woody tone (or what I imagine to be one!) in the first position. Has an OK bluegrass chop.

    I get what you're saying about utility instruments. I also like the funkiness inherent in them. I play 5-string bluegrass banjo and I have a 1933 TB-1 rim with a Steve Ryan flathead ring with a 5-string neck and some bowing and hardware issues but I love to play it. Not exactly in the class of the Strad but not a collector's piece either.

    Anyway, I don't have to worry about nicking my Stradolin--and I own it. Thanks a lot for the link above.

  7. bmac

    Another Stradolin, same owneras above, almost identical(?) to yours.


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